Let’s just say head coach John Tortorella does not have any use for the Capitals’ grousing regarding the officiating in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
“We get everybody and their brother whining out there in Washington about what happened in that series, and I think that's a big reason why they lose that series,” Tortorella said, unprompted, in response to a question about the importance of playoff experience during his post-practice press conference Wednesday afternoon in Greenburgh, N.Y.
The Capitals were bothered by what they perceived was league favoritism toward the Rangers in the series. The Rangers had 28 opportunities on the man advantage in the seven games compared the Capitals’ 16.
Following the conclusion of the series, Alex Ovechkin told Slava Malamud of the Russian-language newspaper Sport-Express “The refereeing … you understand it yourself. How can there be no penalties at all [on one team] during the playoffs? I am not saying there was a phone call from [the league], but someone just wanted Game 7 — for the ratings. You know, the lockout, escrow, the league needs to make profit. I don't know whether the refs were predisposed against us or the league. But to not give obvious penalties [against the Rangers], while for us any little thing was immediately penalized."
Yesterday, Capitals general manager George McPhee backed his captain.
“I don't think there's a league conspiracy, but it sure didn't feel right. Alex wasn't wrong. I talked to them during the series, but at some point you stop. They'll referee the way they want to referee,” McPhee told the Washington Post. “What we didn't get a chance to do was go on the power play very often, and it was a real strength of ours. It was real good during the season. We didn't get many power plays during the series; I don't know why. We had to kill too many penalties; I don't know why. I didn't think that part of the game from the league standpoint was all that good.
"I didn't like the refereeing, but if you complain about it during the series and you're accused of trying to gain an edge. If you complain about it after a series is over, then it's whining and sour grapes."
Yankee Stadium hockey
The House That George Paid For With Taxpayer Money will accommodate hockey next January.
Yankee Stadium will host two games as part of the NHL’s Coors Light Stadium Series, the league announced yesterday. The Devils will host the Rangers on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014 at 12:30 p.m., and the Islanders will meet the Rangers three nights later.
The Rangers will be the visiting team in both games.
“The innovative nature of the Stadium Series affords the opportunity to have all three NHL teams in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area play, outdoors, at one of the most-celebrated stadiums in the world,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “We'll be able to create a multi-faceted, multi-day experience for our fans, and we thank the teams, Coors Light, the New York Yankees and Yankee Stadium for their support of this memorable NHL event.”
The two games at Yankee Stadium are part of a four-game series of outdoor games sponsored by the beer conglomerate. Previously, the NHL announced a Jan. 25, 2014, game between the Ducks and Kings at Dodger Stadium, and a March 1, 2014 match involving the Blackhawks and Penguins at Soldier Field.
These outdoor games are separate from the Jan. 1, 2014, Toronto-Detroit Winter Classic, which will take place at Michigan Stadium. That game was scheduled to take place this past January but had to be postponed due to the NHL lockout.
Information regarding how to purchase tickets will be released shortly.
Ryane Clowe, Darroll Powe and Marc Staal did not practice. There was no update on their conditions. Clowe has not played since Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Powe missed the final four games of the series, while Staal only played in Game 3.
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.